The alarm clock rings and Suzy-Q reaches over to shut it off and then begins to self-coach herself out of bed. Come on, you can do it. One foot in front of the other -- now move.
Before heading to the shower, she walks over to the small table which holds a single framed photo and a candle. The tears begin to flow as she glances at the photo of the pretty young woman before lighting the candle while repeating the same prayer every day which was given to her by another grieving Mom. She shakes her head in disbelief and heads to the bathroom to turn on the water.
Avoiding the mirror in some weird way, she manages to paint on the mask while reminding herself not to draw the eyeliner underneath her eyes because she still cries numerous times a day. As her mind wanders off, time sneaks away from her which means she will be late for work again.
Finally she arrives at the office and slithers to her desk unnoticed yet late enough to avoid many of the chirpy early riser's greetings. After checking her work email, she sends off a quick text to her husband and earth children arranging a dinner for later that week. Suzy-Q is well aware of the energy this dinner will require to pull off now yet realizes the need to gather and remain a family.
The advantage of being late is the day flies by quickly and finally she is free to release the tears as she heads to the parking garage. Before starting the engine, she sobs as her heart once again insists on breaking the painful news to her. After collecting herself enough to drive, she stops to pay for her parking and heads home while thinking that the parking attendant must assume she has a horrible job as he witnesses her tear-stained face each evening.
After a long drive home, she walks into the somber house and notices her husband who is outside grilling in the dark. He apologizes for burning dinner but confesses he was still shaken from stopping at the cemetery after work. Silently they eat in front of the TV after which they robotically proceed to clean up the dishes.
A quick check of the phone's caller ID lists a call from a "friend" who checks in out of obligation never forgetting to remind her of the contrast between their lives. Suzy-Q pauses before deciding to erase the number.
She picks up her crochet hook to work on the comfort shawl she is making for another parent whose devastation day is later that month while making a quick phone call to check on her mother.
With a heavy heart she heads upstairs to bed early. As she reflects on her day, there is a sense of accomplishment and empowerment as she realizes she showered, painted on her face, went to work, engaged with her loved ones and was doing something to ease another broken woman's unimaginable pain. She then turns off the bedroom light, releases more tears, and prays for at least 6 hours sleep before she wakes up and has to do it all again.
This woman has realistic expectations of herself and functions with a heavy heart while never losing sight of who remains here and requires her attention and love. Now that she carries her own invisible bleeding wound, she has made it a priority to reach out and comfort other grieving parents in their despair. She takes measures to guard her precious energy by not engaging with those who amplify her pain.
One of her precious children now exists in a new dimension. Love never dies and Suzy-Q is learning to keep this child present in her life in ways which do not always make sense to her but are vital to her own continued existence. Life requires energy and the simplest tasks are now challenging though she goes through the motions each day longing for the day to be over so she can remove her mask and climb into bed to give into her relentless grief.
The world insists she can live without her child but remains oblivious to her complicated beating heart. She wishes the not always so wise universe realized there are no silver linings surrounding the death of her child. Who among us is ready to send their child to that better place? Her soul never willingly signed up for this and while she no longer wishes upon a star, her heart wishes she could have escaped this lifetime without this cruel life lesson.
This woman has a gentle fragile spirit and is always searching for ways to live and love around the gaping hole in her heart and life. Suzy-Q earnestly wants to believe that the future will hold glimmers of joy again while realizing there is no happily ever after when the natural order does not prevail and a child leaps ahead of you. The world will never realize what it takes to get through a day in the heart of a grieving mother. Self pity? Spend a day in Suzy-Q's heart before you decide.
Always remembering Amy.
This post is part of Common Grief, a Healthy Living editorial initiative. Grief is an inevitable part of life, but that doesn't make navigating it any easier. The deep sorrow that accompanies the death of a loved one, the end of a marriage or even moving far away from home, is real. But while grief is universal, we all grieve differently. So we started Common Grief to help learn from each other. Let's talk about living with loss. If you have a story you'd like to share, email us at email@example.com.